14th International Milad-un-Nabi Conference in Toronto
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Left to right: Prof. Shahid Raza Naeemi, Maulana Qamar Zaman Azmi, Maulana Anas Noorani, Qazi Bashiruddin and Qari Yousuf

The 14th International Milaad-un-Nabi Conference in Toronto attracted more than one thousand delegates. The annual event, sponsored by the World Islamic Mission, Canada, was addressed by religious scholars from Canada, Pakistan and UK.
Key speakers were Maulana Qamar Zaman Azmi, Secretary General of World Islamic Mission (WIM) and Prof. Shaid Raza Naeemi, Secretary General of WIM (UK). Also present was Maulana Anas Noorani Siddiqui, son of the late Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani Siddiqui, who was chief of the Mutehda Majlis-e-Amal and founder of Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan.
Shaikh Faizal Abdur Razak, head of the Canadian Council of Ahle Sunna wal Jamaah (CCAS) and Imam Yunus Ashrafi from Masjid Noor-ul-Haram, Oakville, Ontario were also present.
The conference was held a few weeks after the arrest of seventeen Muslim youths in Toronto, Canada, on alleged terrorism charges. Prof. Shahid Raza and other speakers tried to explore reasons for this phenomenon within the Muslim community and spoke about the problems which the Muslim youths are facing in Europe and North America. They also dealt with the current political and social problems faced by the Muslim community in the West.

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The speakers reminded the audience that in Muslim societies, youths historically have never questioned the belief structure of their parents and elders up until recently. Traditional Islamic teachings and values have always been the mainstay and guiding principles under which the Muslim family adhered to and which held Muslim societies together in harmony with itself and other cultures.
The speakers pointed out that under the influence of different ideologies, Muslim youths started to question the Islamic practices and values of their parents. As a result, doubts and confusion about religion was prevalent amongst them. This is especially common in second generation youths in the West born to Muslim immigrant parents. In a state of confusion, they become easy prey for alien and misguided beliefs which have crept into Islam in the recent past only.
Family values formed another focal point. The speakers expressed the hope that Muslim communities will return to traditional teachings in which the family relationship remains the cornerstone of Islamic life. The relationship between parents and children, especially the mother who is the first institution of learning, must be reinforced. The speakers reminded the audience that when this happens, youths would be guided by values which are based on tolerance and respect. The World Islamic Mission made a commitment to establish and encourage institutions of Islamic learning that promote traditional Islamic thoughts and practices amongst Muslim youths.
The audience heard a recorded speech of the late Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani on the family value system of Islam. The Maulana had been a regular speaker at the International Milaad-un-Nabi Conferences since 1992. He died in December 2003.
The colorful Milad conference program also included recitation of Milad and Qur’an. Haji Yusuf and Javaid Chaudhry thrilled the audience with naats. Abdi M. Solaiman, Vice-President, World Islamic Mission Canada, thanked the audience for making the conference successful. Irshad Munawwar was the master of ceremony.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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